INTRODUCTION: Please turn to II Timothy 3 and follow as I read verses 10-17,
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, (11) Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
In this message I want us to focus on verse 17. Please notice the words "thoroughly furnished." The Word of God was given to make us a complete person.
Now in verse 16 we read, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God …" Another way of reading this is to say, "All scripture is God-breathed." Herein is one of the great cardinal doctrines of our faith, THE VERBAL INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE. Here is a doctrine the devil has attacked from the very beginning of time. You remember the words he said to Eve in the Garden of Eden, "Yea, hath God said?" And ever since then there are those who have questioned the Word of God.
The word "INSPIRATION" literally means "THE BREATH OF GOD” or “GOD BREATHED." The Bible is the literal word of God that was breathed by Him. We not only have a Bible that has come from God, but we also have a Bible that has been preserved.
In Psalms 119:89 we read, "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven."
In Psalm 12:6-7 we read, "The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
We must not think of "INSPIRATION" the same way the world thinks when it says, "Shakespeare was inspired to write." What we mean by biblical "INSPIRATION” is the "SUPERNATURAL INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON THE BIBLE WRITERS, WHICH GUARANTEED THAT WHAT THEY WROTE WAS ACCURATE."
Revelation means the communicating of truth to men of God.
Inspiration has to do with the recording of this communication to preserve it from all errors or omissions.
Notice it says in verse 16, "ALL SCRIPTURE." I have an “every word” Bible. It doesn't just contain the Word of God; it IS the Word of God! That simply means that all 66 books of our Bible are the Words of God.
The 66 books in our Bible contain all that anyone needs to know about time, eternity, God, the devil, heaven, hell, salvation, damnation, sin and righteousness. Anything we need to know about our relationship to God and His relationship to us is found in the Bible.
And may I add, that means we do not need the book of Mormons or a book of some other cult to help us in understanding the things of God.
Please notice again in verse 17 the two words: PERFECT and FURNISHED.
Now the word "PERFECT" means complete, in fit condition. It does not mean what some call sinless perfection. Rather, it implies being fit for use.
The word “FURNISHED” means to equip for service.
Notice the last part of verse 16. The word of God is PROFITABLE:
For DOCTRINE ( What is right),
For REPROOF ( What is not right),
For CORRECTION (How to get right), and
For INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (How to stay right).
The purpose of the Word of God is NOT just to increase understanding of doctrines or to be able to DEFEND the FAITH, as important as these things are. The ultimate purpose is to EQUIP the believer in order to WALK the WALK of God and in order to DO the WORK of God.
From Genesis chapter 1 to Revelation chapter 22, all Scripture is PROFITABLE. First, it is profitable for all doctrine. THIS HAS TO DO WITH WHAT I BELIEVE. Whereas on the other hand, "reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness" has to do with HOW I BEHAVE.
We need to know what we believe in order to be able to BEHAVE as a believer. Doctrine is the foundation. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it. If we do not know the foundation of our faith, we will be tossed to and fro as many are today with every WIND OF DOCTRINE.
Basically, most every book in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, has two parts. The first would be doctrine, and the second would be what we call DEPORTMENT. Paul, in his epistles, consistently laid a DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION. Then he would say, "In light of this truth, this is how you ought to act."
In the course of my 43 years in the ministry, I have met folks who are DAZZLED and INTRIGUED by the great truths of the Bible.
They are what we call TRUTH COLLECTORS.
They know all the doctrines and all the truths, but they DO NOT MAKE PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE WORD OF GOD TO THEIR LIVES.
They never get busy in the ministry of the local church and serve God.
They spend all their time STUDYING, MEDITATING and DEBATING the Word of God.
On the other hand, there are some folks that never gather truth.
They never build a strong DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION.
They just jump in and get involved.
They apply a few practical verses, but never feed their souls and build a foundation for their souls to rest upon.
They, after a while, collapse under the pressure because they run on zeal without a basis to strengthen them.
Now in the Bible, God gives us DOCTRINE, and also tells us to live by every word. IF WE ARE GOING TO BE THOROUGHLY FURNISHED, WE MUST HAVE BOTH DOCTRINE AND DEPORTMENT.
In the book of Romans chapters 1 through chapter 11, Paul talked about DOCTRINE.
He talked about the doctrine of SIN.
He talk about JUSTIFICATION.
He talked about the doctrine of SANCTIFICATION.
He talked about the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD in relationship to Israel.
He talked about and taught us the great doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.
Then in chapter 12 he changes gears and starts to talk about BEHAVIOR. He begins chapter 12 with "THEREFORE." Paul said, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." He is saying, on the basis that you have been saved by grace through faith, here is how you are to conduct yourself.
In Galatians chapter 1 through chapter 4, Paul talks about justification and salvation, WHAT WE OUGHT TO BELIEVE. In chapters 5-6 he teaches us HOW WE ARE TO BEHAVE. He teaches us about the Spirit-filled life, walking in the Spirit, and living in the Spirit. This is how you are to live and behave.
In the book of Ephesians, there is the same division:
In chapter 1 through chapter 3, we find such subjects as the doctrine of SANCTIFICATION, PREDESTINATION and other great doctrines.
Then in chapter 4 through 5, Paul tells us HOW TO WALK WORTHY OF OUR CALLING.
Then in chapter 6 he talks about our HOME, FAMILY, JOB, and so on.
First there is DOCTRINE, and then there is DEPORTMENT.
We could look at the other books Paul wrote, and we would find the same outline. First there is DOCTRINE, which is what we are to believe. Then there is DEPORTMENT, which is how we are to behave.
Now some folks especially like to talk about the great truths in the first part of each book. But they don't like the commands found in the later chapters. They don't like to be challenged to obey. On the other hand, there are some folks who find no difficulties living by the commands, but they are hard pressed to be found studying the great doctrines of the faith.
Listen, WE CANT BEGIN TO LIVE RIGHT UNTIL WE BELIEVE RIGHT. The foundation must be laid first, that is the doctrine, and then comes the deportment. We must think on the basis of doctrine, THIS IS HOW WE ARE TO LIVE. We must have our doctrine right so we can have our Christian behavior right.
Listen, DOCTRINES ARE TO BE BELIEVED. COMMANDS ARE TO BE OBEYED. We don't believe commands, we obey them. However, in my 43 years you would be amazed at how many folks want to BELIEVE RIGHT, but they don't want to BEHAVE RIGHT. They don't act on what they believe. Now in order to be THOROUGHLY FURNISHED, we must have both.
We must have both DOCTRINE and DEPORTMENT.
We must believe the DOCTRINE, and then we must OBEY the commands.
Every person walking the face of this earth is on a journey to eternity. Everybody has an eternal soul that will spend forever somewhere.
WE NEED EVERY WORD OF GOD'S TRUTH TO MAKE US COMPLETE AND MATURE. Therefore, we need DOCTRINE TO BELIEVE and then we must APPLY ITS PRINCIPLES TO OUR LIVES TO MAKE US "THOROUGHLY FURNISHED."
The problem is, as we have said, there are folks who are shipwrecked today because they had plenty of DOCTRINE, but there was no DEPORTMENT.
On the other hand, there were folks who exhibit the proper DEPORTMENT. They are doing what is right, but they have no DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION.
According to our text, God intends for every Christian to be thoroughly furnished. What are we to do? "WE MUST BELIEVE EVERY DOCTRINE AND OBEY EVERY COMMAND.
Not just what we like, but also what we don't like.
Not just what feels good, but what doesn't feel so good.
For example, I believe there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun. That is a doctrinal truth. But what am I going to do about it in my deportment? Well, I must do what Christ has commanded me to do. That is to go into all the world and preach the gospel of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to the end that all people come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus.
OK, it is easy to believe that truth. But to some, it is difficult to obey that command. Now if I just believe the truth and don't obey the command, am I a complete Christian? No, I am NOT! Not only must I believe the doctrine of Hell, but my deportment also has to be right as I seek to win souls.
There are several groups of folks who are not thoroughly furnished.
Group Number 1: SOME FOLKS HEAR, BUT THEY DON'T HEAR. In Matthew 13:14-15 Jesus said,
“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (15) For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
Now verse 16 reads, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Some folks only have a LISTENING UNIT. They don't seem to have a RECEIVING UNIT. They can listen and listen, but they can't understand and accept anything.
Now in Revelation 2-3, seven times this phrase is repeated at the end of each of the seven messages to the seven churches. "He that hath an ear, let him hear, what the spirit saith unto the churches." We don't hear what the spirit says with our physical ears. We hear Him with our hearts.
I have met many an unsaved person like that. They hear what you are saying, but they will not respond by bowing their head and receiving Christ as their Saviour.
I have met Christians like that who sit in the house of God, and listen to the sermon. That's all they do, listen. Nothing moves them, not the message, and not the song service. Nor does the invitation move them to do anything. They just sit there and listen.
Group Number 2: SOME FOLKS HEAR, BUT THEY DON'T DO. This is what we have been talking about – they hear, they believe, they understand, but they do not respond.
Notice this with me in James 1:22-27,
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (25) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
David knew better than to sin, but he did wrong anyway.
Jonah knew what God wanted, but he deliberately went the other way.
Adam knew better, yet he willfully disobeyed by listening to Eve.
Group Number 3: SOME FOLKS WORSHIP, BUT THEY DON'T SERVE AND VICE VERSA!. You remember the great example found in Luke 10:38-42.
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. (39) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. (40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. (41) And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: (42) But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Mary was a great worshipper; she sat at the feet of Jesus. She worshipped, but she did not serve.
Martha on the other hand was so busy with service that she didn't take the time for worship.
God wants us to do both. He wants us to worship, and He wants us to serve.
We have a lot of worshippers today, but a small percentage of servers.
We have a lot of people, on the other hand, who will volunteer to serve and they do so nicely, but they fail to worship.
My friends, it's especially wrong to carry on a ministry for God here at this church and not attend the services to worship and be fed from the Word of God. There will be something sadly lacking in your life and character as a result of your one-sided activities.
Group Number 4: SOME FOLKS TEACH, BUT THEY DON'T DO. This is the great tragedy of much of our modern day Christianity.
We have leaders who teach, but they are a poor example of a Christian.
We have workers who seek to carry on some ministry, but their life doesn't square with what they have taught.
We have some parents who say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
In the spiritual realm, we must teach but we also must practice what we preach and teach. We must train others by our teaching, and by our doing. Others are watching!
Every one of these groups has some deficiency that keeps them from being thoroughly furnished. The Bible tells us, "MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD."
Not just the doctrines that are to be believed.
Not just the commands that are to be obeyed.
We need to believe the right doctrine, and we need to exhibit the right deportment. Notice again II Timothy 3:13-17,
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
We have everything we need in this book, the Bible. No storm can wreck us if we are fully equipped, completely prepared. It's what we do with what's in this book that will decide what becomes of us.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “Thoroughly Furnished” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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